By on September 22, 2017


The only people who like towing companies, it seems, are those who make money off them.

A Detroit-area towing company is accused of doing something that will make the rest of us hate towing companies even more, if the allegations are true.

It all started last year, with multiple investigations into Detroit police officers suspected of taking bribes in exchange for giving business to select tow companies.

Nationwide Recovery, the company at the center of this story, sued the city of Detroit in July of this year, claiming that the city pulled its permit illegally. Nationwide claims it had nothing to do with the bribery scheme and so its permit shouldn’t have been revoked. The city of Detroit said that wasn’t true and went to federal court to explain why.

The city claimed that Nationwide, along with its attorney, set up the theft of vehicles. Those cars and trucks were towed to a lot on the east side of the city. An unnamed police officer from Highland Park, Michigan (an independent suburb that is completely surrounded by Detroit proper) then would fail to fill out paperwork that would alert vehicle owners that their cars had been found. Eventually, owners would track down their cars, but be forced to pay storage fees which had piled up.

Detroit cut ties with all companies that were owned by a Gasper Fiore after he was indicted in May. His indictment was due to Fiore allegedly bribing officials in nearby Macomb County in a completely different scandal, one that involves a waste management company he owns.

However, Fiore isn’t listed as being associated with Nationwide. The city, though, says it can prove he is. Nationwide fired back, saying, essentially “nuh uh.”

The city’s counterclaim against Nationwide’s original suit is based on this: The city found that in its view, the company was recovering vehicles at a “suspiciously alarming rate under highly questionable circumstances.” It also found that over a specific time period, the company towed 217 cars and trucks, which was significantly more than other local tow companies.

The mess goes back a decade. In 2007, a collision-repair shop owner in the Detroit neighborhood of Corktown was criminally charged for being involved in the theft of a car. The owner’s brother offered to snitch on others involved in auto thefts in exchange for leniency for his brother. The city agreed.

The informant and brother of the shop owner, Louay Hussein, bought an interest in Nationwide in 2016. The city says Fiore had been involved with Nationwide since 2010 and the company has under investigation by the city since then.

The city accuses Hussein, his brother, and Nationwide’s attorney, Marc Deldin, of defrauding the city and its residents by stealing cars.

According to the city, a car thief stopped by a police task force dropped a cell phone during his arrest, and text messages on the phone were sent to Louay Hussein. Those texts told Hussein where to find stolen cars.

Police deemed that the messages weren’t sufficient for them to pursue criminal charges, but they continued to monitor Nationwide. The police department claims stolen vehicles were being recovered unusually soon, in some cases before they were even reported stolen.

Detroit’s counter-claim also makes reference to an FBI investigation into Detroit’s towing processes, as well as the internal police department investigation that resulted in six officers being suspended.

Furthermore, the city also claims Nationwide couldn’t provide paperwork for some of the cars on its lot.

I reached out to both Nationwide and the Detroit Mayor’s office – an operator at Nationwide declined to comment or refer me to someone who would, while the mayor’s office has not responded as of this writing.

[Source: The Detroit News]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

14 Comments on “City of Detroit Fires Back at Towing Company Accused of Car Thefts...”

  • avatar

    This is an outrage. Everybody loves tow trucks and ice cream trucks. Especially tow trucks with ice cream.

  • avatar

    This tow truck company is just perfecting the “art of the deal” business model.

  • avatar

    Towing is lucrative and quite tempting to authorities:

  • avatar

    What happened?

    Same as every other day, Mortys killing Mortys.

  • avatar

    “Nationwide is on your side”

    “We’ll take your car for a ride”

    “Tow it here, tow it far”

    “You’ll need the cops to come retrieve your car”

  • avatar

    I’m more interested as to why the 6 crooked cops only get a suspension.

  • avatar

    Except the cops are in on it.

    I lived downtown Detroit for years. This is normal run
    of the mill everyday crap… … and even the FBI
    can’t make a case? Excuse after excuse after excuse.
    They made a case with the Russians a couple years
    ago in Sacramento with a similar scam. Why not in Detroit?
    Come on FBI
    yer sooo good with your profiling. Surely you can
    help out the victims in Detroit a little faster?
    Another reason for driving your winter “beater”
    … …all… … year… … long.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    So a dude in the “waste management” business is also involved in a car the ring. Some folks may go to jail over this, but some are definitely going to get whacked.

  • avatar

    Where’s Robocop, the future of law enforcement?

  • avatar

    This is interesting. I live in Australia, and here too there is the Nationwide towing company. When my Toyota Mark II was stolen they picked it up, I was never told until 18 months later, and the storage bill owed on it was $8,000.
    They said pay them $8,000 and I can have my car back. Obviously I wasn’t impressed. They told me they’d emailed the Police after a couple of months to ask if someone was coming to get the car. The Police never contacted me, but I reported the car stolen, so they had my details. I rang the Police, they didn’t want to know and just kept telling me they’d look into it, but never contacting me back.
    In the end I asked a lawyer, he said the Police will never admit mistake or help, and I can accuse Nationwide of ‘stealing’ my property by not making an effort to notify the rightful owner until 18months had elapsed. So I wrote a letter to their GM, and they gave me the car back free the next day.
    So there you go, if this happens to you, advise the towing company they’ve broken the law by not finding you and telling you (as they in the end just asked the Authorities for my details and got them!), and refuse to pay.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Have links to anything here? This is interesting, and wish I’d seen this comment earlier. I’ll look into it. One thing I’ll look into confirming: Is it the same Nationwide? May take some time.

  • avatar

    This stuff is in the news on a regular basis here in California, probably all over.
    In the city of Bell, near Los Angeles some, more corrupt than usual, city officials including the mayor conspired with law enforcement and towing companies in a quest to extort money from the population. This involved towing cars that were perhaps 1″ into a red zone or driveway. Or five minutes over on a parking meter. They would take plenty of time informing the vehicle owner of where their car was so there were substantial ‘storage’ charges which were split with the city.
    This was part of a much larger scheme on the part of the mayor, some city council members, the city manager and others who raised their own salaries and pensions to huge amounts. The city manager was being paid over $700K, the council members over $100K. The manager’s assistant almost $400K per year.
    This was a little too much when it was exposed by some reporters for the L.A. Times. All but one of the eight major players in the scheme went to jail and some money was recovered.
    There were many more scams beyond towing cars; Fake land deals and a ‘plan’ to build a huge sports complex in a city with a population of 35K people.
    Most places are more careful about money grubbing.
    I really feel for the regular person who gets caught up in this crap. Car is gone maybe cannot get to work, lose their job, maybe end up on the street.
    I had to deal with three cars that were stolen. One was mine the others were friends. Even knowing how to handle something like this it’s a hassle.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • CKNSLS Sierra SLT: Bring back the manual transmission! That nobody buys…….
  • FreedMike: Back in ’05, when I bought a Focus ST, I fretted about why Ford didn’t do a wagon version. I...
  • mcs: In the EV world, competition is going to make them lighter. Lighter batteries lighten up the vehicle giving more...
  • FreedMike: I don’t think there’s any big mystery why the wagon version isn’t coming here –...
  • SCE to AUX: If the CVT won’t hurt sales, then Subaru makes more money by not offering two transmissions. People...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber